b'PASSENGER TRANSPORTYWG51assistance programs. Renaud emphasizes that WHILL can workconcessionaires would place signs or racks of merchandise outside with any service modelit will provide full-time on-site assistance,their storefronts, and then pull them back inside to lock up at the designate and train airport or airline personnel to administer theend of the day while wheelchairs were still in service. Wet floor program, or work with existing third-party contractors by providingsigns were another element that drove home the fact that YWG is a technology and resources to integrate the autonomous serviceflexible environment. into their existing program. It was working with the developers and kind of learning as During the trial at YWG, Airports Authority officials felt it wastechnology grew and matured for our environment, Rosset important to incorporate an ambassador to support training andremarks. It wasnt a big challenge, but it was an interesting one, help users start the wheelchair devices and feel comfortablefor sure. getting in and out of them. The WHILL/Scootaround representativeBeyond the mapping process, WHILL worked to build has a tablet and can be called for assistance when needed. Thisawareness and educate usersboth ongoing efforts. Renaud position was created through the companys service agreement with the Airports Authority.Traveler FeedbackA primary focus of the trials at YWG was determining whether passengers felt comfortable and safe with the new technology. Rosset describes the feedback as overwhelmingly positive. People liked the ability to be more independent and have this service available and not have to be pushed around, he reports. More travelers at YWG are becoming aware of the service as they see the autonomous wheelchairs moving throughout the airport on their designated pathswith or without riders. If another traveler is in a wheelchairs path, it beeps, pauses and politely says, Excuse me, can you move a little bit? and then continues on its way. Its catching the attention of everybody who travels to the airport, which is helping to raise that awareness of accessibility that we often refer to, says Rosset. Renaud reports that during the latest trial at YWG, 97% of users rated the overall experience as excellent or very good, and 99% said they would use the service again. Many passengers who used the service also mentioned that long walks to the gates at other airports present significant challenges to their mobility and physical comfort. In many cases, travelers asked how quickly they will see this service at other airports. Passengers with reduced mobility are really looking for a reliable and consistent service to assist them through that airport, Renaud concludes. Challenges and OpportunitiesMapping the airport and teaching wheelchairs the locations of fixed items (and to adjust for shadows throughout the day) required technology and time. The project team encountered extra challenges when AirportImprovement.comMarch | April 2023'